Grant helps city children learn how to be greener and save water

This is an archived press release

Thursday 5 April 2012

Hundreds of children from Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Kirklees will learn about living in ways that are good for the environment thanks to a grant from the Peak District National Park’s Sustainable Development Fund.

The fund is giving over £27,000 to an outdoor activity centre near Sheffield that will harvest rainwater, reduce its energy use and help guests learn how they can be greener at home.

Parson House Outdoor Pursuit Centre is a remote, charity-run activity centre on Burbage Moor, between the outskirts of Sheffield and Hathersage. It runs residential courses for youngsters from deprived areas of Sheffield who go there to learn about wildlife and conservation.

The grant will help the centre update facilities to demonstrate sustainable ways of living and boost marketing to a wider catchment area to attract more young people from Rotherham, Barnsley and Kirklees.

Debbie Bell, who runs Parson House Outdoor Pursuit Centre with husband Gareth, said: “Being awarded this grant means the world to us – it is going to transform how we use energy and water and how we dispose of waste. It will move us into the 21st century, make our facilities more sustainable and help us grow the business.

“We are based in a fantastic location on the moors but away from mains water. Our water comes from a well so every drop is precious. We have staying visitors so we need to use water in washing machines, for cooking and cleaning, kit cleaning and grounds maintenance, and for guests’ showers and toilets. By using well water more efficiently and recycling rainwater where we can, we’ll save 20 percent of our annual water use – that’s 85,000 litres less every year.”

The planned sustainable improvements include a rainwater harvesting system for flushing toilets and an outdoor tap system, installing thermostatic radiator valves, insulating ceilings, draught proofing and double glazing. Two composting toilets will be installed subject to planning regulations. Marketing and educational material will also be updated.

The total cost of the improvements is more than £36,000; 75 per cent is from the Sustainable Development Fund (£27,382.25p) and £4,800 is from Sheffield City Council’s climate change fund.

Pauline Beswick, who chairs the Peak District Sustainable Development Fund, said: “We’re pleased to support this project as it is not only helping reduce the impacts of climate change and its effects on the Peak District – it’s  helping youngsters think about how they use precious natural resources.

“Parson House has an important role in inspiring the people who stay there to follow their example in using less energy and water and appreciate the national park and the environment.”

Debbie Bell added: “We wouldn’t be in a position to make these changes without the help we have received from the Peak District Sustainable Development Fund. The staff gave us a wealth of knowledge and information about what we could do, how we could get funding and helped with the business plan. We couldn’t have asked for more, they have been so approachable and friendly. We’re so proud we can say that we’ve worked with the Peak District National Park Authority on this.”

Grants from the fund are allocated four times a year and support environmental, educational and social projects in and around the national park.

Advice is available to applicants from Sustainable Development officer Richard Godley. For more information, go to or phone 01629 816312.

This is an archived press release

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